Frequently Asked Questions

Common FAQ

General

Purchase


General

Who is using SmartFoxServer? Are there any real examples?

Hundreds of companies all over the world are using SmartFoxServer to power their multiuser applications and games. We maintain a showcase gallery with a selection of some great projects created by various gaming agencies.

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Is there a place where I can get support for SmartFoxServer?

Yes, we have a very active support board where you can ask for help. The board already contains hundreds of threads and it's likely that your problem has already been discussed. Before posting a new one, please use the Search function.

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What informations should I provide when submitting a support request?

Our motto is Help us to help you! So when submitting a support request please make sure you include all the informations described on this page.

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Do you provide development / consulting services?

We don't provide development or consulting services directly, but we can recommend partner companies that are specialized in multiplayer games and applications development with the SmartFoxServer platform. Check this page for a list of trusted companies.

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I need dedicated hosting for SmartFoxServer. Do you provide it?

We don't provide hosting directly but we can suggest a number of options.

  1. Virtual Private Server (VPS)
    You can buy a VPS hosting plans for as little as 15-20 euros/dollar per month. A VPS allows you to have a dedicated server with root access where you can install any application, so you can easily set up SmartFoxServer. This is a good option when you have a small budget and you can manage the server by yourself. You can learn more about VPS here.
  2. Cloud server
    If you want to deploy SmartFoxServer 2X in cloud environments (Amazon EC2, Rackspace, etc), you may consider using Jelastic or other services. You can find more informations here.
  3. Dedicated hosting plan
    If you need a more advanced dedicated plan we suggest you to check ShockwaveServer. They provide a wide range of hosting solutions for game servers, including SmartFoxServer. You can find more informations here.
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Am I entitled to free updates?

Yes, all server updates are available for free in the the download section of our website.

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I need to install an older version of SmartFoxServer. Where can I find it?

Older versions and patches of SmartFoxServer are made available to customers owning a commercial license purchased before the required version was retired. You can send us your customer ID or invoice by email as a proof of purchase and we will provide the download link.

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Purchase

I want to buy a license, what should I do?

Go to the Buy section of the website, where you will find all licensing informations on our products. You will be the redirected to our online shop where you can order one or more licenses in a few mouse clicks.

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What happens after I submit my order?

It depends on what you are buying and on the selected payment method:

  • if you pay using a credit card or PayPal, you will be redirected to the PayPal website to complete the transaction (you don't need to create an account if you don't have one: in fact you can pay with your credit card directly);
  • if you pay by wire transfer you will be sent to a page containing our bank account informations to proceed with the payment;
  • depending on what you are buying, within 24-48 hours after we receive the payment confirmation we will send the license setup instructions or a link to download the product/s, and you purchase invoice.
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Do I have to pay the additional Value Added Tax?

Depending on the country you are located in, the Value Added Tax (VAT) may be applied to your order (22% to date – October 2013):

  • customers buying as individuals (not companies) from the EU have to pay the additional VAT;
  • all other customers (companies from EU or other countries and individuals from countries outside the EU) don't pay additional taxes;
  • Italian customers (both individuals and companies) always pay the additional VAT (IVA in Italian language).
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Why do I have to provide a VAT registration number?

When a company from an European Union country buys our products, we are forced by Italian tax regulations to request its VAT registration number and check its validity against the European Commission online database. In case your company doesn't have a VAT number you will have to buy your license/s as an individual.

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Why my company has a VAT registration number, but the online verification reports it is invalid?

In some countries a specific authorization must be requested to enable your company to make business with foreign countries. You should check with your fiscal advisor if your VAT registration number is enabled.

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What if I enter an invalid VAT registration number?

If you enter an invalid VAT registration number you will be requested to pay the additional Value Added Tax. Refusing to pay it will invalidate your license in case you already received it.

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What kind of support do I get after purchasing a license?

Support is freely available through our public forums. Please allow us 3-4 days from the submission of the request to reply, even if we usually respond more quickly.
Also, when you buy a license you get a 15 days direct email support.
We can also provide faster, dedicated support and consulting via email, IM, Skype or phone. Contact us for more informations and a price quote.

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Is there a refund policy?

Before deciding to purchase our softwares, please be sure to download, install, and test-drive the evaluation versions that we provide. We do not offer refunds on software where the retail version has already been sent to the customer. We go to great lengths to produce an evaluation version with which customers can ensure their satisfaction and system compatibility. This allows them to make an informed purchasing decision. Once that purchase has been made, however, we do not provide a cash refund. We feel this policy is consistent with the major software retailers worldwide.

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I already have a license and I want to upgrade it, how much does it cost?

Our upgrade policy is very simple: you just pay the price difference between the new license and the one that you already own. There are no other hidden or additional costs.

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What should I do to upgrade my current perpetual license?

In order to upgrade your license, please visit our online shop.

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Are SmartFoxServer Basic customers allowed to upgrade to SmartFoxServer Pro?

As SmartFoxServer Basic and Pro share the same code base, we allow upgrading even if the two editions are considered different products.

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Are SmartFoxServer Basic / Pro customers allowed to upgrade to SmartFoxServer 2X?

We are open to the possibility of a license conversion for customers willing to dismiss their previous SmartFoxServer 1 license/s and move to the 2X ones. Please visit this page.

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Are there any royalties or a per-title fee?

No, SmartFoxServer allows you to run as many games/titles per instance as you need without any additional costs or hidden fees.

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Are there any annual or maintenance fees?

No, SmartFoxServer doesn't charge any maintenance fee.

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SmartFoxServer 2X FAQ

General

Licensing

Elastic License

Technical


General

What are the limitations of the Community Edition?

The Community Edition comes with all the existing features (server, documentation, examples, etc) together with a free license allowing 100 concurrent users (CCU). There are no time limitations.

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Can I use the Community Edition for a commercial project?

Yes, the CE edition can be used for any project, from personal or non-profit to commercial ones. We only require that you show a readable Powered by SmartFoxServer notice in your application main screen or user interface. An official logo is available in the Extras section of the 2X download page.

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The API source code is not available. Why?

When possible, we find it a lot more convenient to provide a single library file (SWC, DLL, etc) than the source code. Building the new API from sources is now significantly more complex and slow due to the various libraries that each version depends on.
Anyway we remain open to the possibility of providing the source code to those developers willing to port the API to other languages that we don't support officially.

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Licensing

Can I use the same SmartFoxServer license on more than one machine?

Each license is bound to the machine on which the SmartFoxServer instance is installed; if you need to run multiple instances of the server on separate machines, you need to buy more licenses.

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How does the licensing system work?

The SFS2X licensing system is based on a centralized License Server running in high availability mode that enables our customers to manage their licenses easily. There is not setup, no additional costs, no complications. The management is done via a web interface and the only requirement is that the SmartFoxServer 2X instances are free to use a regular HTTPS connection to contact the License Server.
The License Server significantly improves the license management with respect to SmartFoxServer Basic / Pro:

  • no fixed IP licenses
  • no more contacting our support for an IP address change
  • no more local License Server for cloud deployments

Detailed informations on the licensing system and the License Server are provided upon license purchasing.

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My server is hosted behind the Great Firewall of China. Is this an issue?

SmartFoxServer instances hosted behind the Great Firewall of China can't reach our License Server, so the default SFS2X licensing system doesn't work. We can work around this issue by providing a file-based license: in order to do this, after submitting your order in our online shop please send us the private IP address of your server and the SFS2X version you are going to install (2.10, 2.11, etc); we will generate the license file and send it by email.

Please note that the file-based license is available for standard licenses only; elastic licenses are not compatible with the Great Firewall.

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Is the BlueBox tunneling add-on still a separate license?

No, the BlueBox is fully integrated in SmartFoxServer 2X and it is no longer sold separately. It is included in the price you pay for the software.

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Can I convert my SmartFoxServer perpetual license to an elastic license?

No, the two licensing systems are not interchangeable.

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Elastic License

How do I change the license configuration?

Elastic licenses can be configured on the SmartFoxServer 2X Licenses Management website following the instructions provided when you purchased your license. You can change the maximum number of concurrent users and activate/deactivate the optional addons. Before the changes are applied, the new daily cost and approximate total monthly spending are displayed for confirmation.

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The license is charged on a daily basis. How does it work?

The elastic license cost is based on the maximum number of concurrent users allowed to connect to the SFS2X instance. Such cost is charged on a daily basis using this formula: daily_charge = license_price * max_ccu / 30 where license_price is the price per ccu per month declared on the website's Buy page. Conventionally all months have a duration of 30 days.
If you activated one or more optional addons, an additional fixed monthly cost can also be charged.

BILLING EXAMPLE
The following example shows the typical billing report over multiple days:

Date Description Debit Credit
11 Nov 2015 Base elastic daily charge (0.05 €/CCU/month; 1500 CCU) -1.25€
12 Nov 2015 Base elastic daily charge (0.05 €/CCU/month; 1500 CCU) -2.50€
13 Nov 2015 Base elastic daily charge (0.05 €/CCU/month; 1500 CCU) -2.50€
14 Nov 2015 Base elastic daily charge (0.05 €/CCU/month; 1500 CCU) -2.50€
14 Nov 2015 ¹ Base elastic daily charge (0.03 €/CCU/month; 4000 CCU) -4.00€
14 Nov 2015 ² Daily charge refund +1.15€
14 Nov 2015 ³ Analytics monthly subscription monthly charge -25.00€
15 Nov 2015 Base elastic daily charge (0.03 €/CCU/month; 4000 CCU) -4.00€

a) On November 11th the license is purchased. The description shows the applicable license price and the max. number of CCU currently set. The above formula calculates the daily price accordingly, but depending on the time of the day when the license was created, the customer is only charged for the actual usage (in this example 12 hours only).

b) From November 12th to November 14th the full daily price is charged.

c) On November 14th the license configuration is changed by the customer: the max. CCU is increased (making a discount kick in) and the Analytic addon is activated. The new full daily cost is charged (see 1), but as the customer already paid for the day, a refund is also due (see 2). This is based on the time at which the configuration change occurred.
Also, as the addon has a monthly cost, this is entirely charged upon activation (see 3).

d) From November 15th on, the new full daily price is charged.

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How do I recharge the license credit?

The elastic license credit can be recharged on the SmartFoxServer 2X Licenses Management website following the instructions provided when you purchased your license: after entering the credit amount to purchase, you are redirected to our online shop. After the payment, the credit is automatically added to the license.

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What happens when the license runs out of credit?

Multiple warning emails will be sent to the license holder well in advance, notifying that the license is going to expire. When the credit is fully depleted, the license will return to the default Community Edition, supporting 100 CCU.

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What happens if I try to increase the max CCU but there’s not enough credit?

Nothing, the operation is denied with a warning. You can then add more credit and repeat the procedure.

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Is my license's max CCU enough to handle sudden spikes of traffic in my game?

You should monitor the traffic via the SmartFoxServer's AdminTool dashboard. Additionally you can turn on email notifications that will send an alert when the traffic is reaching the license's limit, before it is maxed out.

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Can I migrate the elastic license to a different machine/server?

Yes, elastic licenses can be moved to other servers very easily from the Licenses Management website; full instructions are provided when a license is purchased.

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Can I convert my SmartFoxServer elastic license to a perpetual license?

No, the two licensing systems are not interchangeable.

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What if the elastic license is not assigned to a SFS2X instance? Does its credit get depleted anyway?

Yes. The license daily cost is charged whether the license is assigned to a SmartFoxServer instance or not.

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Does the license's credit expire at some point in time?

No, the are no time limits applied to the license's credit. But keep in mind the previous question: in the end the credit will be depleted anyway.

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My license has run out of credit and I need to reactivate it immediately. What do I do?

Please don't allow this to happen, because when the credit is depleted, the license is reverted to the Community Edition. We send warning emails one week in advance so that you have all the time to recharge the license's credit. If this should happen anyway, just recharge the license as described here and restart the SFS2X instance to which the license is assigned.

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Technical

I have a game written for SmartFoxServer Pro, how hard is it to port it to 2X?

This depends a lot on the complexity of your game. Converting the client side is usually a quick job because the SFS2X API employs a philosopy similar to its predecessor. On the server side, if your code is Java, some refactoring and rewriting will be necessary. If you already used good OOP practices the operation will be reasonably quick. For other server languages supported by SmartFoxServer Pro a full rewrite in Java is required.

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Is Java the only server-side language?

Yes, Java (JDK 6 or higher) is the only server-side language officially supported for production environments. We have put a lot of effort in re-designing the server Java API, improving coding simplicity, elegance, and adopting Java best practices as much as possible.
Given the level of performance and scalability that SmartFoxServer 2X is able to offer it would be a bad idea to introduce a significant bottleneck such as an interpreted language can be.
Java also provides full control over threading and concurrency which is essential for scalable code. Anyways, The JDK makes it possible to plug in your favorite scripting language engine (Rhino, Jython, JRuby) if you need it. This can be a good way for prototyping ideas that later will be translated in Java Extensions.
Finally, we already distribute an embedded Python interpreter (Jython) for prototyping/testing server-side Extensions.

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Do you have load testing tools available?

We don't provide stress test tools, but it's relatively easy to create one that will run your custom code, using our client API. We have an article in our blog which describes the process in detail.

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Is Javascript / HTML5 supported?

Starting from version 2.3.0 of SmartFoxServer 2X, HTML5 is full supported through a native set of JavaScript API leveraging the WebSocket protocol.

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Is it possible to put a load balancer in front of multiple SmartFoxServer instances?

SmartFoxServer uses persistent socket connections, so it works very differently from a web server and it's unlikely you will be able to put it behind the load balancer unless you use sticky sessions, which seems redundant.
To balance the load appropriately you should make the client ask which SFS server to use before establishing a connection. This is how it should work:

  • each SFS instance updates a central database with its current users count, let's say once every minute;
  • the client first calls an http server in your cluster which reports which SFS instance should be used;
  • the client connects to the proper SFS instance.
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Can I deploy a SmartFoxServer 2X cluster using Terracotta?

With SmartFoxServer Pro we often recommended using Terracotta for the purpose of clustering multiple SFS instances. The documentation we still provide refers to the 2.x version of the Terracotta SDK. Unfortunately with the introduction of version 3.x the tool has steered away from its original intention and has essentially become a sophisticated caching system.
They have hidden all of the DSO API (Data Shared Object) from the developer's perspective, which was central in the integration with SmartFoxServer, and advised against using it. For this reason we decided to discontinue the integration of SmartFoxServer 2X with Terracotta.

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SmartFoxServer Pro / Basic FAQ

General

License


General

What are the limitations of the evaluation versions?

The evaluation versions come with all the existing features (server, documentation, examples, etc) together with a free license allowing 20 concurrent users (CCU). There are no time limitations.

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Can I use the evaluation versions for commercial projects?

Yes, the free license provided with the evaluation versions can be used in commercial projects. If you use the free license you should add a small note in your application / game saying that it is powered by SmartFoxServer, although it's not mandatory.

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With the release of SmartFoxServer 2X are the Basic and Pro editions going to be discontinued?

We don't have any plans to discontinue the SmartFoxServer v1 product line (Basic and Pro editions). All SmartFoxServer editions will continue to be maintained and supported.

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License

Can I use the same SmartFoxServer license on more than one machine?

Each license is bound to the private IP address of the machine on which the SmartFoxServer instance is installed; if you need to run multiple instances of the server on separate machines, you need to buy more licenses.

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Which IP address should I provide when buying a license?

The license is bound to the private (internal, physical) IP address of the server on which the SmartFoxServer instance run.
If you are unsure about the private IP addresses of your machine, please try one of these commands:

  • Windows: open a prompt/command window and type ipconfig
  • Linux/Unix: open a terminal window and type ifconfig
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Can I change the IP address of my SmartFoxServer license?

Yes. If you need to move your server to a new machine or you just need to change the IP address you can contact us by email providing your current license file and the new IP address (see previous question): we'll send you a new, updated license. The IP change requests are usually processed in 24-48 hours.

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Do you have a licensing system suitable for cloud environments like Amazon EC2?

The default IP-based licensing system of SmartFoxServer Basic and Pro is not suitable for most cloud hosting services, because the private IP addresses usually change in case the virtual server is terminated and re-launched.
For this reason we developed a specifically designed License Server, which allows any number of SmartFoxServer instances to be deployed without worrying about their IP addresses.
Each server instance can be freely moved to any new IP without any intervention on our side; additionally the tool offers a convenient web-based interface for monitoring the licenses and their usage. We provide the License Server for free together with the conversion of your existing licenses. Contact us by email if you still have to buy your licenses and you plan to use a cloud hosting service.
Detailed informations and requirements to run the License Server are available in the online documentation.

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